Every day is a new day for your sixth grader to discover who they really are. No phase has less consistency than sixth grade. Some sixth graders sleep with stuffed animals while others want to sleep with their cell phone. Most sixth graders are alternately one and then the other on any given day – or any given hour.
Your sixth grader is growing. You’ll likely notice this most in your grocery bill. So keep the pantry stocked.
When they are feeling dramatic, your sixth grader might constantly ask, “who cares?” During this year, it’s very common for there to be a lot of tears (both yours and theirs). It’s normal for doors to slam, drama to happen, hormones to soar, and friendships to break up. But amid all the ups and downs, in these changing tides of emotions, now is the time to lean in even more closely. When they push, it’s a chance to prove you can’t be pushed away. When they change, it’s a chance to prove you will love them consistently. When they break your trust, it’s a chance to prove you are someone who can be trusted. Don’t worry, the roller coaster you’re stepping into (or that you’ve already been on for a while) will flatten out eventually. Take heart, your child is in the process of becoming someone even more wonderful.
One of the best things you can do in this phase is provide them a safe place to wrestle with their doubts and questions (particularly about God, Jesus, and the Bible). Your sixth grader is transitioning from making your faith into something they own for themselves. This will require you to constantly remind yourself: “Don’t freak out.” Even if you don’t use words, your facial expressions and body language often communicate your true feelings. Be mindful of what you are communicating with your tone and body language.
When your sixth grader explains their new beliefs or starts to doubt what they’ve once held to be true, help them navigate their curiosity by seeking truth together. A faith wrestled with is a faith owned. Remember, it’s not doubt that’s toxic to our faith, but silence.
"Why should I believe you?"
In this phase of self-discovery, your sixth grader is figuring themselves out through challenging authority. By expressing doubts or criticisms, your sixth grader is uncovering what they believe to be true.
Purchase the Can I Ask That? student guide and leader guide and read/discuss it together with your sixth grader. The Can I Ask That? 2 student guide and leader guide is also available.
Parenting Your Sixth Grader by Kristen Ivy and Reggie Joiner
So The Next Generation Will Know by Sean McDowell & J. Warner Wallace
10 Questions Every Teen Should Ask (and Answer) about Christianity by Rebecca McLaughlin
Planet Middle School: Helping Your Child through the Peer Pressure, Awkward Moments & Emotional Drama by Dr. Kevin Leman
Stop Freaking Out, Mom and Dad!
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